September 12, 2015
With Segment 7 of the Colorado Trail complete this weekend, I have now finished Segments 1-10 (170.5 miles) over the past two summers. Only 315 miles more to go…I supposed I’ve made a small dent.
David and I visited Breckenridge Friday night which coincidentally coincided with Oktoberfest (in September) and were fortunate enough to meet Cat for dinner at Blue Stag. After a great meal, Cat was nice enough to shuttle a car with us to our pick-up point at Copper’s East Lot.
The next morning, we hopped the free Summit Stage bus to the Tiger Run stop, crossed the street and began our hike. I was hoping the beautiful fall color from segments 4-6 would carry over to segment 7, but no such luck. There was hardly an aspen grove, and for that matter for the first several miles there was hardly a tree or pretty forest anyway. The pine beetle has taken its toll on the lodge pole pines.
After passing by a trail to the left and crossing a few logging roads, we eventually reached a sign that directed us to Miner’s Creek Trail. This left/right jog led us through some prettier scenery as we enjoyed some shade. The Miner’s Creek tributary crossed the trail a handful of times as we began climbing for the next five miles.
With the wet year, the seasonal streams and springs to the left of the trail were flowing. Soon we emerged from the forest to the tundra above the treeline and enjoyed a lovely view of the lake below before we stopped for lunch as we topped the first ridge. I think both of us could have fallen asleep on the hillside beneath the sunny, cloudless sky.
We continued along the path that began switchbacking up the mountain to the crest of the Tenmile Range between peaks 5 and 6. At the crest, the wind blew strong and cold. We had to sift out our puffy jackets as we descended the other side until we reached treeline again.
The rest of our hike was rather uneventful. We turned right on Wheeler Trail, and criss-crossed some more seasonal water flow for a few miles before we reached the river and parking lot at the bottom. Much of this 12.8 mile trail was very steep, both up and down, so my legs were happy to reach the Segment’s end.
We drove back from Copper to Breckenridge and decided to take a very long route home over Boreas Pass to take in some of the fall color. This was a very good decision! The road wasn’t too crowded and the green, yellow, and orange aspen leaves were a treat. ETB
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